The Saint Petersburg Times editors: "On the campaign trail, Gov. Rick Scott promised he would dramatically cut taxes and slash state spending as he dismissed anyone who questioned his math. The budget recommendation he delivered this week falls short of those impossible pledges and remains so irresponsible that legislators should set it aside and start fresh. " "Scott's irresponsible budget".
The Miami Herald editorial board: "Scott’s budget of extremes a nonstarter".
The Orlando Sentinel editors:
On the campaign trail, he pledged to slash government spending. But victory cast Mr. Scott as the expectant groom trying to wedge a 40-inch waist into 30-inch trousers. His proposal: Cut services, shrink state agencies and slash about 7 percent of the state's work force to squeeze into a $66 billion budget."Education is job 1". See also "Schools lose $44 million in Scott budget" and "12,000 jobs axed, but Florida schools fear more cuts".
His plan hewed closely to his promises of Tea Party thrift. His vow to hold education harmless in the process? Not so much.
Under Mr. Scott's plan, education funding would shrink by $3.3 billion. That would reduce Florida's already anemic per-student spending — traditionally in America's bottom 20 percent — by 10 percent, or $700 per student.
Beyond all that, Scott's claims are simply wrong: "Gov. Scott's actual budget cuts are less than he said".
More: "Budget chief says Scott flexible on spending".
"Dyer: Gov. Rick Scott's budget may include cash for SunRail"
"Scott being a real pill"
Mike Thomas supposes "Gov. Rick Scott includes dope dealing as one of the Florida industries he hopes to stimulate." "Scott being a real pill about drug database". The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Scott irresponsibly wrong on abolishing drug database".
Scott wants to cut unemployment benefits
"President Barack Obama’s plan to give states more time to pay back billions borrowed for jobless benefits ran into a key obstacle Wednesday: Florida Gov. Rick Scott."
The newly elected Republican, and frequent Obama critic, is pursuing his own ideas to deal with the crushing debt caused by persistently bad unemployment, a spokesman said."Gov. Scott rejects President Obama’s plan on jobless debt".
He wants to use state money to cover some of the interest owed to the federal government and reduce the benefits a person can get — a proposal that advocates for the unemployed are planning to protest on Thursday in Tallahassee.
"Band-aids and quick fixes from a federal government that spends money faster than it is printed will not solve real problems," Scott spokesman Brian Hughes said.
Scott’s reaction could be trouble for Obama, who is counting on support from hard-hit states to pressure reluctant Republicans on Capitol Hill. His plan is part of his 2012 budget to be released Monday.
Under Obama’s plan, Florida could hold onto between $400 million and $500 million over the next two years.
"A schedule for early presidential primaries"
The Palm Beach Post editorial board: "Who says bipartisanship in Washington is dead? For the first time, the Democratic and Republican national committees fully agree on a schedule for early presidential primaries." "Follow rules and move Florida's primary back".
"15 bids received for Florida's 2 state aircraft".
Night of the long knives at Corrections
"The Department of Corrections is terminating 14 top executives this week and moving two others to posts in combined, streamlined regions just in time for the arrival of Gov. Rick Scott's new prisons chief from Indiana." "14 DOC execs terminated as of Friday".
Stoopid is here
Stoopid has arrived. (See yesterday's "Waiting for Stoopid").
"Scott will push lawmakers this year to increase the number of charter schools."
To help push that agenda, Scott enlisted the help Wednesday of controversial education expert Michelle Rhee.Did we say stoopid?
In the Senate pre-K-12 Committee on Wednesday, Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, asked Rhee why Florida needed an overhaul of its public school system by pointing to a report from Education Week, which recently ranked Florida as the No. 5 education system in the country."Gov. Scott now pushes for more charter schools -- not vouchers" ("A flurry of legal questions on top of an already ambitious education agenda has helped persuade Florida Gov. Rick Scott to back away from a controversial plan for universal school vouchers.") See also "Lose tenure and bad teachers, Florida lawmakers told", "Senators Show Up for Michelle Rhee, Leave for Bill" and "Rhee Challenges 'Criminal Standard' of Teacher Tenure".
“How can we be such an inept public school system and rank so high?” Montford said.
Rhee suggested the ranking showed more changes were needed.
More about Rhee: "Why Michelle Rhee's Education 'Brand' Failed in D.C." More about Rhee in the New York Review of Books's, "The Myth of Charter Schools", a review of the silly Waiting for Superman.
From the "values" crowd
"On the spreadsheet, the Florida agency that helps poor and desperate people is in trouble. Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget lays off 1,849 Department of Children and Families employees and slices $278 million out of the agency that oversees homelessness and health care; substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health." "Scott's proposed DCF cuts draw concern".
More kids take AP tests
"Report shows student success on AP exams".
"Former Gov. Charlie Crist and former Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink held a joint news conference to promote an oil drilling ban as a constitutional amendment." "Crist, Sink promote oil drilling ban proposal". See also "Drilling opponents campaigning for constitutional amendment".
RPOFer laff riot
"Florida Conservatives Set to Shine at CPAC".
As Florida burns ...
"The House Foreign Relations Committee is chock full of Florida lawmakers, a reflection of the state delegation’s diversity." "Florida lawmakers influence foreign affairs".
Evaluation scheme don't work
The Saint Petersburg Times editorial board: "Evaluation scheme undermines schools".
Pension two step
Even the right-leaning Daytona Beach News Journal editorial board believe Scott's "proposal to require state employees to contribute 5 percent of their earnings to their pensions needs to be scaled back or phased in over a period of several years. The immediate impact of that contribution would inflict too much of the pain of budget reductions on workers who haven't had a pay raise since the recession hit." "Scott should focus on the state budget deficit".
Collins Institute's Partisan Pension Report
One wonders what Leroy Collins would make of this report from the institute bearing his name: "Trouble Ahead: Florida Local Governments and Retirement Benefits – Full Report" (.pdf).
Notwithstanding the corporate media's fawning over the "report"*, one expects Governor Collins wouldn't think much of it: the glossy ten page document includes a grand total of 8 footnotes, which at first glance expose the report's sources to be highly partisan, biased and unbalanced; they include (all underscoring supplied):
- "'Response to Cities’ Alarms: Pension Rules are Stacked in Favor of the Unions, Not Taxpayers.' The Palm Beach Post, Nov. 19, 2010."
- "Kraig Conn, legislative counsel for the Florida League of Cities**, is the source for this information reported in: Kenric Ward. 2010. Local Governments Seek Pension Relief. Sunshine News***. http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/print/1878321."
- "Kraig Conn, Legislative Counsel, Florida League of Cities, Power Point Presentation. 1011 Pension Reform Proposal. http://www.
- "Randall G. Holcombe. 2011. Protecting Florida’s Cities through Pension Reform. James Madison Institute**** Backgrounder. No. 66.
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*See "Florida cities face underfunded pension benefits", "Study: Fla. cities, counties can't afford promised pensions", "Study: Retirement benefits for state workers a 'time bomb'" and "Public pensions get more scrutiny".
**The "League of Cities" is an advocacy organization that has of course been pushing to gut employee pensions for years.
***Sunshine News is an acknowledged right wing news source.
****The James Madison Institute (JMI) is Florida's hard right version of the Heritage Foundation; that the JMI it is cited as a source seriously undermines the credibility of the report.
"Unemployment applications hit lowest level since 2008". See also "Florida foreclosure activity falls to July 2007 level". But see "Dip in foreclosure filings doesn’t mean worst is over".
"S. Fla. board: Scott plan to cut water district taxes 25 percent threatens jobs, Everglades cleanup".
One man's terrorist ...
"A top investigator from Cuba has been detailing a string of 1997 bombings at some of the island's most luxurious hotels as part of the U.S. trial against a former CIA operative accused of lying about his role in the attacks when he later sought American citizenship. ... Posada spent a lifetime using violence to destabilize communist political systems throughout Latin America before seeking U.S citizenship in 2005." "Cuban official describes bombings at US trial".
Ricky makes a visit
"Scott scheduled a visit Thursday to the Department of Management Services, which oversees a variety of state functions including building construction, purchasing and personnel. ... The agency recently came under fire for its role in building an opulent Tallahassee courthouse critics have dubbed a 'Taj Mahal.'" "Scott touring troubled Fla. management agency".